Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Video Review of the Good Things in 2020

2020 was a life shaking year for everyone on earth. It will never be forgotten. And personally, in both my art and my life, it brought many changes. The biggest change was the move my husband and I made back to Kansas after living in Colorado for just over two years. Our landscape went from mountains to gentle rivers. It was with some reluctance that we left that majestic landscape, but we are home and in this season it feels right. In this video there is a chronological view of 2020. Highlights and day to day life throughout the year are sprinkled with the changes in seasons and landscapes, and of course my paintings are here.

Here's to a better year in 2021 for all of us.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Portrait Paintings and Staying Inspired With The Artist"s Way

Portrait of a Woman Wearing Green
oil on linen 8x10 inch
available here

 Inspired by some old photographs, these paintings were created.  Except for the last one, my goal was to keep it more contemporary with only a hint of the past.  Did I succeed?  I don't know.  I honestly cannot judge my own art.  

Portrait of a Woman in Autumn
oil on linen 8x10 inch

Portrait by Dabbs
oil on linen panel 5x7 inch

In portrait by Dabbs, the title was inspired by the stamp on the back of the photograph.  It led me down an interesting rabbit hole and leaving the painting with a very dated feel seemed appropriate after my investigation.  The stamp was the photographer's logo: Dabbs, 174 Liberty Street, Pittsburgh, PA. According to Historic Camera's website, Dabbs was a studio run by an Englishman by the name of Benjamin Lomax Horsley Dabbs from 1876-1897 until it was destroyed by fire. Dabbs did a famous portrait of Andrew Carnegie which is displayed at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art. Dabbs was also said to be a close friend of Abraham Lincoln.
Dabbs mostly photographed businessmen, doctors and lawyers.  I find this kind of information so fascinating.

I am on week two of this book.  It has really kept me inspired and made me think about some new concepts regarding creativity.  Her ideas can be applied to just about any kind of job, not just the arts.  It is full of ideas to get your creative mind flowing. Two things she recommends throughout the course of the book is to do what she calls "morning pages" and to go on an "artist date" every week.  The artist date is where you go somewhere or do something by yourself in order to get inspired.  It is all about taking in.  It could be a museum, or just for a drive out in the country, or in the city if you live in the country. Anything really.  I have to say the artist date cheers me up while in the middle of this pandemic.  It has given me something to look forward to.  My first artist date was a drive in the Kansas countryside.  I came home feeling relaxed and very inspired.  I cannot explain why.  The trick I think, is to make sure you do something you really enjoy.  I love shooting photos, so I took my camera and made stops where ever I felt led.

I just thought I would share this with you in case you are looking for something to do with the winter months ahead.  

Until next time.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Darkness Cannot Hinder Fragrance and Some Thoughts

Darkness Cannot Hinder Fragrance
oil on wood panel 9x12 inch
When times are troubled, whether it be all around you or with you on a personal level, it is always a good idea to seek the positive.  Cliché?  Yes, but it's true.  However, it seems important to go a little bit further.  It is good to seek the positive, but this isn't enough.  We will do ourselves good to learn to be present with it for a while.  Stay with that happy memory, savor your morning cup of coffee, smell the flowers and really study them as you do this.  Focus.  Be still.  Focus some more. Be present with that good thing you are doing.   Make this a habit in your daily life and see how your perspective and your coping changes.  Watch how peace comes.  The darkness may still exist, but it is now sharing residence with light. And as we all know, light  penetrates darkness.


If this thought resonates with you, here are a couple of recommended studies for you.

The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
A New Earth:  Awakening Your Life's Purpose by Eckart Tolle
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer

Oprah's Super Soul:  A New Earth interview series

Blessings everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Balthus and His Mitsou


The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
during a visit in 2014

In 2014 I went with my sister to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and there was a wonderful Balthus exhibit taking place.  You can read a little about the exhibit HERE .  Part of the exhibit contained 40 drawings that Balthus did as a child of his found and lost cat named Mitsou, and depicted the story of her life with him.  The drawings were displayed in chronological order and in one of them there is a sad little boy, carrying a lantern, searching for his lost beloved cat.  A friend of his mother was so moved by the drawings that he published them into a book which was on display at this exhibit.  No photography was allowed, but if you search online you will find a photo of the book and some of the drawings.  

I left the exhibit promising my sister that my next cat would be named Mitsou, in honor of Balthus as a boy, the loss he endured, and in memory of this wonderful exhibit in New York.  As luck would have it, a short time later, a friend offered me a sweet grey and white kitten and the name Mitsou fit her perfectly.

My Mitsou posed for this painting I did below, but I painted her black and white, preferring a strong black and white contrast.  And now as I type this, I am wondering if the black and white choice was more of a subconscious decision.  A sort of nod to Balthus' black and white drawings of his Mitsou.

A Studious Cat
oil on cradled wood 9x12 inch


Friday, November 13, 2020

The Best Kind of Day

The Best Kind of Day
oil on cradled wood 9x12 inch

Though the flowers are mostly faded, the feeling of gratitude for the simple things is not. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Paintings and Back in Kansas

Camping Under Trees
oil on cradled wood 9x12 inch

I have heard that campgrounds are full and campers and RV rentals are booked solid.  It is no surprise with Covid.  So for now I will go camping with my imagination.  

We have moved back to Kansas and it has been wonderful to be with family again.  This is my son and daughter in-law on a warm and muggy evening.  We were taking their photograph for their piano studio website and we were melting and fighting mosquitoes.  I had forgotten about those.  There are no bugs in Colorado if you can believe.

River With Fish and Geese
oil on canvas 10x8 inch

Since we have moved back, I am finding a lot of inspiration in the gentle river landscape and in the neighborhood we are renting in.  I am still selling by paintings on Etsy under Lisa Graham Art.  Even with Covid,  people are still buying art and I am so grateful that many of my paintings have been finding homes.  If you want to see my current paintings the link is HERE . 

Riverside Duplex
oil on cradled wood 12x9 inch

Boat Dog With Girl 
oil on cradled wood

Last winter I was asked to do an interview for Colorado Homes and Lifestyles magazine, then Covid happened and things were delayed.  They caught me almost literally going out the door...chaos and boxes everywhere, ready for our move back to Kansas, but it was a delightful photo shoot and phone interview.  I am not very comfortable being in the spotlight like that, but they made me feel at ease.  What an honor it was to be asked.

Well I am off to paint.  Stay happy and healthy.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Flowers and What Happened to Blogger?

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel
oil on panel

I am painting more flowers lately.  It is such a great way to play with color and practice laying down the oil paint without having to think too much about form.  I am not a master, but I am learning.   I have been looking at a lot of art by Mary Fedden, Winifred Nicholson and Alice Mumford lately.  Some of the inspiration is seeping into my own art.  

I was going to make this a longer post and share more flower paintings, but Blogger has changed so much I am finding this barely usable.  So I am afraid I will sign off for now.  

You can still find me on Facebook, Instagram and Etsy under Lisa Graham Art.

Take care for now!  I hope you are well.  


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Coffee Painting, Colorado Winters and Shrike

Still Life With Stone Setting
oil on paper 7 x 5 inch
available here

You could say coffee and still life are the themes this month.  I joked about naming the painting below  "Ugly Mug", but I went with a different name to keep it on the positive.  Poor little mug.

Mug With Circle Handle
oil on linen panel 4 x 6 inch
available here

 Of course there has to be figures too when I paint.  I am not sure I will ever stop painting them.

oil on paper 9 x 12 inch
available here

Here is a recent shot of my art studio.  It is a loft area at our house.  It has lots of southern light.  My poor guitar just sits there.  I quit lessons some time ago when I started working two jobs and would much rather paint in my spare time.  Learning an instrument is a bit comittment, but maybe I will pick it up again some day.

It has been a snowy winter here in Colorado.  I am getting my exercise for sure with all the shoveling.  Our bird feeders are quite busy.  At the Wild Birds store I work at people complain about the squirrels eating all their bird food.  We even sell foods with hot pepper in them to deter the squirrels.  They don't like the taste, but the birds can't taste it.  I don't really mind the squirrels, they have to eat too.

We also have these magnificent Magpies here in Colorado.  They are a large intelligent bird said to know how to mimic sounds.  I have never heard them do that though.  People also complain about these birds because they bully smaller birds at the feeders.  Our Magpies are nice, they don't misbehave.

Another Colorado bird I have really enjoyed seeing is the Northern Flicker.  It is a woodpecker and it has the most beautiful markings and color.  They are fun to watch at the feeders, hanging upside down and such.  How in the world they can eat that way is beyond me.

The trees behind our house often look like this - full of birds.  It is such a joy for me to watch them and photograph them.

Speaking of birds, I am obsessed with this song by Hozier.  He learned about a bird called a Shrike, which is actually a kind of vicious bird.  After hearing about the Shrike, he felt inspired to write a song about heartbreak.  It is such a beautiful and almost haunting song though and I will leave you with this video of him performing it.  Enjoy.

Until next time.  Take care.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Artists at Rain Cafe

Artists at Rain Cafe
mixed media on birch panel
16 x 12 inch
available here

I used to attend a painting group with a wonderful group of artists when I lived in Kansas.  I think I was a part of the group for about three years and I missed it when I stopped going in order to work part time at Pottery Barn.  The conversation among that group was always interesting and inspiring. 

I hope your new year is off to a great start!  Thanks for visiting my blog.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

2019 Slideshow Video

Lisa Graham Art 

Hi everyone!  I took some time and created a slide show with music reviewing all my paintings in 2019.  I used to make these videos every year, but somehow got out of the habit.  I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for following my art!

Happy 2020!